More than 100 travel professionals from across the US volunteer in gateway community Williams and Grand Canyon National Park
Williams, AZ — November 3, 2015 — Travel professionals from 25 states and more than 55 companies today celebrated the National Park Service’s centennial year by donating more than $50,000 in volunteer value to Williams, AZ and at Grand Canyon National Park.
“On behalf of the state of Arizona, we thank all the wonderful volunteers who donated their time and worked with us to freshen up two very important visitor destinations,” said Debbie Johnson, director of the Arizona Office of Tourism. “Both locations are adored for their unique travel offerings. The Grand Canyon National Park is one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World and Williams takes us back to our celebrated Route 66 history”.
With tens of thousands of tourists sweeping through Williams, The Gateway to the Grand Canyon®, each year to visit Historic Route 66 and take in a rodeo, the city’s buildings and grounds need constant care. In one day, volunteers applied fresh coats of paint to bring new life to the visitor’s center, city hall and rodeo grounds and in the surrounding Kaibab National Forest, worked with the US Forest Service to remove hundreds of invasive trees from the McDougal Flat prairie area.
“Kaibab National Forest serves as the gateway for millions of visitors to Grand Canyon National Park and northern Arizona,” said Lisa Jones, a staff officer for the forest service. “Volunteers have and continue to play an active role in assisting the forest service in managing the natural resources from recreation opportunities to wildlife habitat enhancement.”
Grand Canyon National Park sees 4.7 million visitors annually and since spring the park has seen a 25-30% increase in visitation. This may put the park on track to 6 million visitors in 2015, increasing the workload to keep the park pristine for visitors from all over the world.The National Park Service relies on volunteer support and believes stewardship begins in partnership. Today, after riding the Grand Canyon Railway up to the South Rim, Tourism Cares volunteers focused on cleaning up micro-trash – small debris including coins and small pieces of trash — an ongoing NPS program helping to ensure the success of the California Condor reintroduction initiative.
“By volunteering to pick up litter, the volunteers are playing a part in the bigger picture of the National Park Service Mission of helping to preserve a natural and cultural resource for the enjoyment, education and inspiration of this and future generations,” said Sarah Lechich, Centennial Volunteer Ambassador, Grand Canyon National Park. “This is why the National Park Service and specifically Grand Canyon National Park are grateful for nonprofit organizations such as Tourism Cares for partnering with us by volunteering their time to help keep the park a little cleaner and the wildlife a bit safer”.
The event in Williams and at Grand Canyon National Park marks the first of five volunteer projects in celebration of the 100th birthday of the National Park Service. At each location, volunteer work is prioritized by NPS and other local partners to fulfill the most pressing needs. US national parks see almost 300 million visitors a year, creating a constant need to maintain and preserve their natural, historic and cultural splendor.
“Tourism Cares for our National Parks is a perfect way to get our community out and giving back’” said Jessica Ahern, Director of Events for Tourism Cares. “Through this initiative and our partnership with the National Park Foundation, we are connecting travel professionals to parks and believe volunteers are the key to sustaining these places for the future. Getting members of our industry personally involved in the centennial celebration is an important goal for Tourism Cares”.
SAVE THE DATE FOR FUTURE PROGRAMS
Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area, Atlanta, GA, February 5, 2016
Mississippi National River and Recreation Area, Minneapolis, MN, May 20, 2016
Mount Rainier National Park, WA, September 16, 2016
Ellis Island National Monument, NYC, November 4, 2016
Tourism Cares thanks all involved in making this program possible, including our fall 2015 event sponsors: Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, Caravan Tours, Viking Cruises, Arizona Office of Tourism, Xanterra Parks & Resorts, Grand Canyon National Park Lodges, Grand Canyon Railway & Hotel, Bearizona, The City of Williams, Williams-Grand Canyon Chamber of Commerce, Forest Service, AARP, ASTA, Booking.com, Choice Hotels , Hosts Global Alliance, NTA, Signature Travel Network, Skål International USA , Tauck, Trip Mate and USTOA.
For more information on Tourism Cares and its volunteer programs, visit www.TourismCares.org
About Tourism Cares
Tourism Cares, Inc. is a US 501(c)(3) public charity founded and supported by leading travel industry associations and companies. As the Heart of Travel, we preserve and enrich the travel experience by investing our community’s resources, talent and influence in three areas: we support underappreciated and at-risk destinations and communities; we invest in those entering the industry and in professional development for emerging leaders; and we share corporate social responsibility best practices so members can better support their own causes. Learn more at www.TourismCares.org.
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